With homework and dinner behind them, the kids filed into the living room and formed a semicircle around their grandfather. True to their word, they were ready to sacrifice their allotted television-time in favor of the story. Their grandfather gleamed with pride but more than that, he was overjoyed to have his own special bonding moment with the kids. They wouldn’t stay young forever and in time they would be too busy, or too cool, to want to hang out with their grandparents. This was the stuff memories were made of. He didn’t even have to ask where he had left off in the story; the children were quick to remind him. He had left off where the four captains had raised the morale of their troop so much that they were all about to pledge their lives to fighting evil and injustice-all except one.
“Hidden within the ranks,” the old man began. “One of the warlord’s minions had disguised himself as one of the soldiers. He’d been sent to ferret out their enemy’s plans. He listened as Demetrios, Eleon, Linus, and Praxis laid out their battle tactics, taking mental note to relay every word to the greater warlords. After the outline for the campaign had been exposed the traitor slipped away from the ranks to earn his reward. As he crossed back into the village, his mind swam with the honors he expected to be bestowed upon him, such a loyal and willing servant.”
The children were livid, particularly the older boys who had a greater understanding of the ramifications of a traitor in the ranks. Little Madeline’s eyes welled.
“Could someone do that to my Daddy while he’s fighting?” She fretted.
The old man scooped the precious girl into his arms and together, with her brothers, convinced her that their dad was going to be just fine.
“You’ll see, Princess, traitor are always discovered and good triumphs.” He assured her.
The child smiled, relieved that the bad man was going to get his comeuppance. Though the boys would never say it aloud, they too were concerned and their wise grandfather allayed their fears too.